There are now over nine million Summary Care Records available for use in urgent and emergency care in England, the Ascribe User Conference heard this week.
Dr Emyr Wynn Jones, secondary care clinical lead for the SCR and HealthSpace programmes at NHS Connecting for Health, told the conference that the milestone was passed on 18 October.
He said the SCR programme had suffered a ‘lot of collateral damage’ from the recent announcements about the demise of the National Programme for IT in the NHS, with some people mistakenly thinking that the SCR was being abolished.
“The SCR is one part of the programme that is going forward. It is here to stay and is not being dismantled or taken away,” said Dr Wynn Jones.
The hope – from the top of the NHS – was that over 50% of the population would have SCRs by mid-2013, he said.
A total of 33,576,611 patients have been written to as part of the SCR patient information programme and SCRs are viewed in 20-30% of clinical encounters where they are available. So far, 1.24% of the population has opted out of having an SCR.
Benefits realisation research found that 43% of OOH doctors felt that having access to the SCR made them feel more confident and 70% felt that the SCR increased safety in treating patients.
Asked why there was such a gap between letters going out to patients and records becoming available for use, Dr Wynn Jones, said there had been a lot of disruption caused by the ‘purdah’ period around the general election and also the changes in the NHS.
Public and professional concerns about the SCR also had to be addressed. “Now that we know it [the SCR programme] has approval, momentum is picking up again,” he said.
The SCR’s purpose, he emphasised was to support the treatment of patients in emergency and urgent care settings such as A&E, GP out-of-hours and acute mental health services.
SCRs contain details of medication, allergies and any adverse reactions suffered by the patient.
Additional content may be added only with the explicit consent of the patient and when both the patient and GP agree that the extra information would be of value to clinicians providing urgent or emergency care.
Dr Wynn Jones said that any future expansion of the SCR’s content would be made with patient-led governance, though details of this were not fully established.
He explained that routines for using the SCR include asking patients for consent to view on every occasion that it is accessed, though patients may choose not to be asked again after the first encounter.
Clinicians may ask for workgroup access to the SCR or may do an “emergency view” if that is seen to be in the patient’s best interests. Emergency views are auditable and will be followed up.
Ascribe’s Symphony is one of three systems that may be used to view the SCR. The system gives users a clear indication of whether a patient has an SCR or has opted out. Work is in progress to create a facility to print out SCRs and add them to paper records.
A representative from the company explained that it would be desirable to be able to import data from the SCR to the local electronic record but there were information governance challenges around that and a need to ensure that information can be moved accurately from the SCR to receiving systems.
© 2011 EHealth Media.
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